Friday, June 19, 2009

Birding this Weekend - Goose Pond FWA

This weekend, I will be birding at Goose Pond FWA in southwest Indiana. This is the best place to bird in Indiana during the summer and possibly throughout the year. Currently there is one first state record, Roseate Spoonbill, and two rare ducks, Black-bellied and Fulvous Whistling-Ducks, at this property. There have also been reports of a group of 6 possible Mottled Ducks, but that has not as of yet been confirmed.

I have seen a Black-bellied Whistling-Duck in Indiana before. It was at Goose Pond last summer, but I have not seen any of the other species in Indiana. With all of these rare birds in the area, you might wonder what it is about Goose Pond that attracts all these amazing southern birds. Goose Pond was a wetland up until the 1960s when it was drained so that the area could be used for farming. In 2000, NRCS, Natural Resource Conservation Service, bought a permanent easement on some of the former wetlands. After they began to restore the property, the Indiana DNR purchased the 8,034 acre site in 2005 for $8,000,000.

The restoration process continued and was finally finished in the summer of 2008. The end result is one of the best wetland complexes in the Midwest. As more and more people learn about the possibilities of birding at this fantastic location, I believe that birders from all over the country, or at least the Midwest, will flock to this site in large numbers. Goose Pond may end up being a great example of how birding and conservation can lead to economic gain for the surrounding communities - in this case, Linton, Indiana.

One of the most recent additions to Goose Pond is an island that will be set up for the possibility of nesting Least Terns. Although it seems like a stretch to have Least Terns nest here (as there is currently only one nesting colony in Indiana), three individuals were spotted over the area last week. This could be great news for the endangered Interior Least Tern population. This population has only about 7,000 pairs, and it would be great to see it expand its range in Indiana.

So, this weekend I will be looking for all of these recently reported rarities as well as the multitude of local breeders. I am hoping to find both bittern species, Blue Grosbeak, Bell’s Vireo, Sedge Wren, and Henslow’s Sparrow. I am also hoping to find another rare bird for the property. With all these southern specialties showing up, you never know what might be found next!

I always enjoy any opportunity I get to explore more of Goose Pond, and I am sure that this weekend will be no exception! If you are interested in visiting Goose Pond FWA, check out our guide to birding the area here. If you have any questions or would like more information about visiting the site, please contact us!

Where do you plan to bird this weekend?


2sweetnsaxy said...

I hope you have a great time and find every bird that you hope to see.

Unseen India Tours said...

Seems you had a great time...Photos are really beautiful..Great Shot..Unseen Rajasthan

Chad said...

Have fun and good luck... I wish I could have come with you...

Kelly said...

Wow! I think a birder I was talking to at Muscatatuck this spring told me about this place. I can't wait to visit it some day. Looking forward to more posts on it. Rick, Matty and I will have to visit it.

Kelly said...! I just checked out the link you posted to your birding guide of Goose Pond. It's great...filled with very helpful info. Thanks for posting!

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